Twenty views of the West

  • The Best Stories of the American West, Volume 1

    TOR BOOKS
 

Best Stories of the American West is a collection of Western stories in which gunfights are outnumbered by basketballs, and the cowboy hats end up mangled beyond recognition. In other words, it's not about the West as exemplified by John Wayne; it's about a place in which people actually live. 

In compiling this first volume, series editor Marc Jaffe did something refreshing: He refused to define the West. His only requirement was that the stories take place in one of the 11 states in the region. Beyond that, anything goes. The result is 20 stories from 20 very different writers, some of them well-known (such as Sherman Alexie and William Kittredge), and others less so (like John Rember). The plots range from the scheming of Wyatt Earp to the secrets of flying an airplane in the Sawtooth Mountains. There are cowboys here, sure, but also bush pilots and fishermen, teachers and poorly trained paramedics, aged actors and 40-year-old basketball players. 

Taken together, this hodgepodge of characters reminds us of just how diverse this region is. We meet people like Roy and Jacinto: Jacinto, a Filipino migrant worker toiling in California amid a sea of tomato plants, struggles to eke out enough money to go back home, while Roy, a rough-and-tumble Southwestern cowboy caught between tradition and change, finds himself glancing constantly over his shoulder at the encroachments of city life. These two characters represent two classic ways of seeing the West: Roy, the Gifford Pinchot ideal of land use and resource extraction; Jacinto, Ronald Takaki's view of an empire built largely on the exploitation of immigrants. Entire political programs could be constructed around these two figures, but in this volume they are simply people. They work. They struggle with loss. In terms of their humanity, they are equals. 

Time after time, this collection reminds us that there is no easy way to live in the West. "They beat on you one way or the other," says Casey Mullins, an old man in a Hollywood nursing home who claims he was once the notorious bank robber John Dillinger. "The pride comes in how you stand up to it." 

The Best Stories of the American West, Volume 1

Edited by Marc Jaffe

316 pages, hardcover: $25.95

Tor Books, 2007.

High Country News Classifieds
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • FEATURES DIRECTOR - HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
    High Country News, an award-winning news organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Features Director to join our editorial...
  • GENERAL MANAGER
    The Board of UYWCD seeks a new GM to manage operations & to implement our robust strategic plan. Details at www.upperyampawater.com. EOE
  • IN TUCSON, FOR SALE: A BEAUTIFUL, CLASSIC MID-CENTURY MODERN HOME
    designed by architect David Swanson in 1966. Located a block from Saguaro National Forest, yet minutes to Downtown and the UofA campus, 3706 sqft, 6...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Friends of the San Juans is seeking a new leader guide our efforts to protect and restore the San Juan Islands and the Salish...
  • 80 ACRES
    straddles North Platte Fishery, Wyoming. Legal access 2 miles off 1-80. Call 720-440-7633.
  • DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AND MARKETING
    High Country News seeks a Director of Product and Marketing to join our senior team during an exciting chapter of innovation and growth. This individual...
  • OWN A THRIVING MOUNTAIN GUIDE SERVICE.
    Eastern Sierra guide service for sale to person with vision & expertise to take it onwards. Since 1995 with USFS & NPS permits. Ideal for...
  • IMPROVED LOT
    Private road, hillside, views. Well, pad, septic, 99 sq.ft. hut. Dryland permaculture orchard. Wildlife. San Diego--long growing season
  • UNIQUE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
    Profitable off-the-grid business located 2 miles from Glacier National Park. Owner has 6 years operating experience. Seeking investor or partner for business expansion and enhancement....
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...